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CAN means Controller Area Network, a message protocol which has originally been developed for automobiles. Modern automobiles possess a great number of component parts that have to communicate with each other. With CAN it is possible for them to communicate without the detour via a central processor. CAN is extremely robust and quick, at low costs. This makes CAN attractive for other applications as well.

CANopen is an open protocol that has been internationally standardized, it determines how systems of lifts, automobiles, and others, send and receive data. CANopen is being developed and maintained by the CiA (CAN in Automation) , an organization of users and manufacturers. Instituted mainly by German medium-sized businesses, CANopen is common in Europe, but the rest of the world shows growing interest in it as well. 


An application profile describes objects of an application. This is in contrast to a device profile, where the objects of a device class (e.g. encoder) are described. Device profiles are meant to make devices exchangeable as much as possible and to make them work as plug & play. But while users want devices that are as exchangeable as possible, some manufacturers want them to be less exchangeable because dependence of the users seems to be better for them. Additionally, manufacturers can find measures to protect their work on the basis of patent law.
New profiles are always under development. For them, as well as for all other profiles, the CiA assigns a number, which can be found in this list: CiA - CANopen-profiles.

Advantages of CANopen

The manufacturer-independent components that use CANopen are compatible because of the standard they share. This way,  you are not tied to a single manufacturer, as is the case with complete solutions, and you can avoid high life cycle costs. Another important factor is the speed of transmission of CANopen. With some devices a transmission inside a milisecond is possible. Furthermore, the error diagnosis with CANopen is quick and comfortable, the price performance exceptionally and the number of applications increasing.

You can find more information about the open standard CANopen-Lift in the wiki at CANopen-Lift.org. The advantages of  CANopen CiA-417 for the user are explained in the following image video by CANopen-Lift.